Srinagar: A former Tihar Jail prisoner, Tariq Ahmad Dar, who was released after 12 years, has taken upon himself to compile the list of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in jails outside Jammu and Kashmir. According to the data compiled by him, 32 prisoners are currently lodged in jails outside the state.
Dar said he was shocked to know that neither the two Hurriyats or any pro-freedom group, nor any human rights organisation or the High Court Bar Association had the figures to show how many Kashmiri prisoners were in jails outside the state.
“It is very important that we should compile the data and tell the stories (of the prisoners),” Dar, a resident of Srinagar’s uptown Solina area, said. “There are prisoners who are lodged in jails for the past 25 years. They are rotting in jails with not even emotional support from Kashmiris. Nobody knows about them.”
Dar said he went looking for details regarding prisoners lodged in jails outside the state but could not find them either from “leaders or human rights groups”.
“People here are extremely carless about prisoners outside,” Dar said. “Nobody thinks about those forgotten souls.”
Dar said that apart from statistics, nobody also knows about the history or stories of people who are “rotting in jails since decades”.
“Their painful stories remain unheard,” he said. “I met a father of a prisoner lodged in Tihar Jail. His father is a government employee. On his retirement, he got some money. With moist eyes he asked me what he should do with the money and his house when his son is lodged in Tihar for the past 22 years. Imagine, his son was just 28 years old when he was lodged there. Now he is 50.”
Dar said that time and again he asked rights groups and political organisations to get the information by utilising their people on the ground. “They are so callous, nobody bothered to do it,” Dar said.
Giving details, he said 25 prisoners are currently lodged in Tihar Jail, including many Hurriyat leaders. Apart from them. Bilal Ahmad Kuta of Dargah is lodged in a Bengularu jail since 2006, and four Kashmiris, namely, Latief Ahmad Waza, iftikhar Hussein, Javed Hussein Khan and Abdul Gani Goni are lodged in Rajasthan jails since 1996.
Among the 25 prisoners in Tihar Jail are Javed Ahmad Khan of Fateh Kadal (for past 21 years), Mehmood Topiwala of Kangan (for past 21 years), Ghulam Mohammd Bhat of Sopore (7 years), Farooq Ahmad Dagga of Kupwara (7 years), Ghulam Jeelani Leloo of Sopore (7 years), Mohammad Sidiq Ganaie of Sopore (7 years), Muzaffar Ahmad Dar of Pattan (4 years), Mohamamd Shafi Shah of Handwara (6 years), Talib Laali of Kupwara (5 years), Mushtaq Ahmad Lone of Bijbehara (5 years) Dr Wasim of Kishtwar (7 years), Ehtisham Farooq of Sopore (6 years), Shafkat Ali of Sopore (6 years), and the rest are Hurriyat leaders.
He said one Kashmiri prisoner, Parvez Ahmad, is lodged in a Kolkata jail.
“I think I have compiled the full list. But I am still seeking information from other jails,” Dar said.
Dar said that three Kashmiri prisoners – Tariq, Muhammad Rafiq Shah and Muhammad Hussain Fazili – were put in Tihar Jail in 2005, soon after blasts rocked Delhi killing 67 people. It took the court twelve long years to acquit them of the charges and release them from jail.
Kashmir Reader talked to a few representatives of the two Hurriyats and other pro-freedom groups, and also to members of the High Court Bar Association, but none of them had information about how many Kashmiris were in jails outside the state.
There is data available, however, on Kashmiris lodged within prisons of the state. There are 708 of them, 300 in Srinagar Central Jail, 200 in Kot Balwal Jail, 90 in Kathua Jail, 10 in Udhampur Jail, 5 in Amphala Jail, 15 in Baramulla Sub-Jail, 30 in Kupwara Sub-Jail, 5 in Hiranagar Jail, 15 in Pulwama Jail, 18 in District Jail Mattan, 5 in Reasi Jail, 5 in Rajouri Jail, and 10 in Poonch Jail.